News 1998 Army Science and Technology Master Plan

12. Battlespace Environments

The battlespace environment technology area encompasses the study, characterization, prediction, and M&S of the terrestrial, ocean, lower atmosphere, and space/upper atmosphere environments to understand their impact on personnel, platforms, sensors, and systems. This will enable tactics and doctrine to exploit that understanding and to optimize new system designs. The technologies and capabilities addressed in this section are critical to realizing the Joint Chiefs of Staff’s (JCS) long–term strategy for information superiority and dominant battlespace knowledge.

An understanding of battlefield environments and effects are essential in all aspects of a military system’s life cycle, from M&S for design, through mission planning and rehearsal, to actual configuration and programming of sensors and weapons in execution. Here cooperative international programs are needed to ensure that coalition forces can interoperate effectively with a common and consistent understanding of the battlespace, and with an ability to receive and process environmental information required to execute the battle.

Table E–15 and the following paragraphs highlight capabilities and opportunities in this area. Five technology subareas of battlespace environment are highlighted: cold regions, topography, combat environment, battlescale meteorology, and atmospheric effects.

a. Cold Regions

Cold regions engineering focuses on minimizing or eliminating the dramatic effects of winter weather on operations conducted by the U.S. Army. To do this, effective decision–making tools, models, simulations, and mission planning/rehearsal factors are required that accurately predict the state of the ground, atmospheric conditions, and system performance in complex cold regions environments. The winter environment presents a severe challenge to the performance and operability of weapon systems, target identification and acquisition sensors, equipment, and personnel. This challenge is not confined only to the effects of temperature. It also included the detrimental effects of snow, ice, and the state of the ground whether frozen or thawing. Frozen and thawing soils greatly affect the projection and mobility of forces, mine clearing operations, and earth excavation required for force

Table E–15.  International Research Capabilities—Battlespace Environments


United Kingdom




Asia/Pacific Rim


Other Countries

Cold Regions           Russia

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2s.gif (968 bytes)

Topography 2s.gif (968 bytes) 2s.gif (968 bytes) 2s.gif (968 bytes) 2s.gif (968 bytes)     2s.gif (968 bytes)
Combat Environment   1s.gif (931 bytes) Remote sensing; IR FPA   1s.gif (931 bytes) Remote sensing; robotics      
Battlescale Meteorology 2s.gif (968 bytes) EC nations & Canada share overall capability in weather prediction 2s.gif (968 bytes)   Russia

2s.gif (968 bytes) Weather prediction

2s.gif (968 bytes) EC nations & Canada share overall capability in weather prediction
Atmospheric Effects 2s.gif (968 bytes) EC nations have capabilities in various areas       Israel

1s.gif (931 bytes) Atmospheric effects


1s.gif (931 bytes) 3D data display; atmospheric dispersion

Note: See Annex E, Section A.6 for explanation of key numerals.

projection and construction. Snow, ice, and frozen ground dramatically alter the propagation of acoustic and seismic energy and interfere with IR and MMW signatures. This greatly reduces the effectiveness of weapon systems and sensors. Icing conditions dramatically change fixed and rotary–winged aircraft performance, impact safe operation of equipment on roads, airfields, and bases, and impact the ability to communicate. Technical challenges relate to developing and validating models of these phenomena, and finding ways to enable operations to continue in spite of them. Norway and Russia provide significant foreign capabilities in cold regions technology.

b. Topography

Topographic research focuses on better understanding the terrain through improved data generation, analysis, and representation especially those exploiting sensor data. Efforts are needed to provide technology for rapid digital terrain data generation, terrain visualization, terrain analysis, data management, and realistic mission rehearsal and training.

Major technical challenges include:

Identifying terrain features automatically
Developing a total force positioning and navigational capability
3D dynamic multispectral scene visualization
Generating terrain and weather environments in near–real time.

The ability of global satellite data, coupled with more powerful low–cost information systems to manage large quantities of data, has fostered growing international dissemination and standardization of topographical data. Technology for application of the data to military uses (real–time generation and prediction of terrain signatures from stored or measured geographic/topographic data; mission planning and targeting; etc.) will be found predominately in the U.K., France, and Germany. However, there is growing interest in development and use of geographic information systems for a wide range of civil and military applications. Significant niche capabilities may be found in Japan and elsewhere.

c. Combat Environment

This subarea provides high spatial and time resolution descriptions of the immediate environment of the combat warfighter, including both the measurement and modeling/prediction of that environment. Spatial scales range from several meters to several hundred meters and time scales from seconds to several hours.

Technical challenges relate to transport and diffusion of gases and particulate, atmospheric flow, measurement systems that resolve microscale dynamical structures, dynamic and optical characteristics of aerosols and instrumentation for their detection and analysis, and remote sensor concepts and software.

The above comments related to global satellite data apply equally here. Remote sensing capabilities of interest include the French expertise on advanced IR FPAs, and the Japanese strength in CC&Ds and IR sensors. Japan also has strengths in robotics that could be important.

d. Battlescale Meteorology

The objective of battlescale meteorology is to generate the best possible description of current or future states of the battle environment for military planning, tactical decision making, and training.

Technical challenges relate to developing better prediction models and parameterization methods for the physical processes and phenomena involved, assuring accurate state descriptions and data quality from various sensors and platforms, and developing the computational speed and memory capacity to resolve the mesoscale phenomena.

Most of our European allies and Canada have strong capabilities in weather monitoring and prediction. In addition, Russia has developed special expertise in weather prediction.

e. Atmospheric Effects

The objective of atmospheric effects is to provide both real–time assessments to operational forces and a simulation capability for planning and training. The weather always has a significant effect on battlefield operations, and accurate weather prediction is a major tactical advantage. Atmospheric modeling can forecast long–term weather, acoustic and EM propagation, smoke and obscurant effects, and CB agent dispersal.

Developing and validating models of various related phenomena is a major technical issue. Modeling EM, acoustic, and seismic effects; target detection and prediction effects as a function of atmospheric effects; developing environmental decision aids; and effects of obscurants on performance and prediction are all important technical challenges.

We observe growing international exchanges in weather prediction and in research related to predication of long–term environmental and climatic conditions. Specific expertise in short–term, high–resolution battlescale weather predictions, and in real–time prediction of atmospheric effects on battlefield sensors is primarily limited to the EC nations (notably Germany and the U.K.) and Canada. Israel also has specific capabilities that are of interest. In addition, within the U.S.–Canadian infrastructure, Canada has notable capabilities in weather prediction, and in techniques for visualization and presentation of large three dimensional data sets.

AMC POC: Dr. Rodney Smith
Army Materiel Command
5001 Eisenhower Blvd.
Alexandria, VA 22333–0001
e–mail: [email protected]

USACE POC: Mr. Jerry Lundien
U.S. Army Corps of Engineers
20 Massachusetts Ave., NW
Washington, DC 20314–1000
e–mail: [email protected]

IPOC: Mr. Stephen Cohn
Army Research Laboratory
2800 Powder Mill Road
Adelphi, MD 20783–1197
e–mail: [email protected]

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